With all of the changes organizations have faced this year, there has been a lot of soul searching. In addition to creating processes to adapt to new work environments, companies are looking even deeper to ensure that the core culture is where it should be.
IndustryWeek talked to Laura Gallaher, CEO of the Gallaher Edge, who has worked with a variety of organizations including NASA, to find out how she helps companies mature.
IW: What motivates companies to realize their corporate culture could use some improvement?
LG: Some companies have safety issues. One company we worked with had a very close call. No one was hurt but that was only by chance and that shook them up. They wanted to know what had been slipping in their procedures that this could even have happened.
We had another client who found that poor decision-making was leading to massive financial losses.
Another company realized that without clear directives things had dissolved to the point where there was chaos. And that led to a lot of interpersonal problems, as no one was really clear on what exactly they were supposed to be doing.
IW: What is at the core of these issues?
LG: It’s a level of maturity. These organizations are not mature in their culture.
To help companies become mature we use three techniques: self-acceptance, self-awareness, and self-accountability.
Our process is to help them grow through experiences. For example, we take through them an experience that triggers an emotional response and then spend about 20-30 minutes talking about and analyzing that experience.
It’s rare that anyone would take the time at work to break down a particular experience but this is the key to becoming aware of the underlying issues. Once aware, communication can become more honest and that in turn leads to the ability to solve problems.
IW: Speaking of awareness how does the issue of diversity and inclusion play into a mature culture?
LG: I have seen an increase in companies that want to really push their diversity and inclusion efforts into specific plans. They are using a more comprehensive lens for these issues which is critically important.
But going back to the theme of maturity, that has to be the foundation upon which these efforts are implemented in order for them to ultimately be successful. A mature culture operates at a level where people have moved past feeling uncomfortable with perspectives that don’t match their own experience. Instead, they welcome different viewpoints.